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October 14, 2015

Using Reddit to Boost Your Following

If you’re familiar with Reddit, you know that this site has more than 164 million unique visits on a monthly basis. Reddit features more than 7 million pages and is currently the 10th most popular site in the United States.

With that in mind, it’s clear that Reddit can be a great tool for businesses to boost their following and push their brand.

Let’s learn more.

How Reddit Works

When you first log into Reddit, it looks like a mess and this may be the reason many marketers avoid using the platform for marketing purposes. Upon further investigation, however, it becomes clear that the so-called “Front Page of the Internet” is an important resource designed to connect users with, well… pretty much everything.

The main purpose of Reddit is to provide a platform for message boards where users can ask questions, submit links and interact with niche communities. Unlike a site like Twitter, however, Reddit allows content to be “upvoted” by other users. This upvoting process determines the content’s position on the site and encourages users to create interesting copy that other people will love.  If the content succeeds in getting upvoted enough times, it can easily reach hundreds of thousands of users and direct a great deal of that traffic back to a specific site.

8 Brands Using Reddit to Succeed

Reddit is far from a secret and there are many established companies currently using the platform to boost their business, interact with new customers and run promotions and incentives programs. These companies are nationally known and they provide a great example of exactly what marketers can achieve when they use Reddit as part of their marketing arsenal.

1. Amazon

Known on the web as “The Everything Store,” Amazon is an e-commerce company that has used Reddit to engage more closely with customers and the industry as a whole. The company has also used Reddit to learn about cutting-edge technology and developments in the e-commerce industry. Additionally, Amazon has used Reddit to team up with Nissan in a deal to sell a Versa Note. Finally, Amazon uses Reddit to share exclusive deals with customers and drive excitement over promotions and special offers.

2. The Economist

The Economist is known across the web as a weekly publication that reaches a whopping 1.5 million weekly readers. In addition to publishing information on current events, news and politics, this popular newspaper has also embraced social media as a way to boost sales and promote digital interaction with their content. In addition to embracing other social media platforms, The Economist has used Reddit to promote interaction with customers and drive engagement with the brand. In one large display of how useful Reddit can be for companies, The Economist’s digital editor, Tom Standage, took to Reddit to invite readers to ask anything they wanted. As they did, he responded instantly via the social media tool and provided an important look at the inner workings of The Economist while also proving that customers are important to the company.

3. Red Bull

Known for distributing a high-octane energy drink and sponsoring a variety of hard-hitting sports events, Red Bull is also a force to be reckoned with when it comes to social media marketing. The company is a well-known Reddit user and has often taken to the social media platform to promote upcoming events. Fans appreciate the reminders, are excited about the events and happily interact with the brand online.

4. Fathead

Fathead is famous for life-size vinyl wall graphics of everything from famous quarterbacks to Disney movie stars. But they’re not only proficient with vinyl. The company also knows how to use Reddit to interact with their customers. Several years ago, a Fathead user ordered a Tom Brady Fathead and was sent a different one by mistake. Frustrated, the user went to Reddit to voice complaints and, promptly, the company deployed its PR team to handle the issue. The company sent the disgruntled user an entire Tom Brady collection of Fatheads and admitted their initial wrong. All was smoothed over and the customer went away happy.

5. Newcastle Brown Ale

Reddit is the ideal platform for companies that want to interact on a high-class level but don’t quite have the resources to pull it off. Newcastle is a prime example. The company took to Reddit to ask users to create an ad and, as a result, produced more than 850 comments and 900,000 views in one day.

6. Ford

Ford used Reddit back in 2012 to launch the FordPIDayChallenge, within which Ford engineers took to Reddit to post a variety of high-level mathematical questions. Reddit users were given a limited amount of time (3 minutes and 14 seconds, to be exact) to answer the questions. The first person to correctly answer 42 questions in a row won a membership for Reddit’s premium service – Reddit Gold. This Reddit campaign was unique in that it allowed the typically behind-the-scenes Ford team to participate in a campaign and celebrate every mathematician’s favorite holiday – Pi Day – in style.

7. Nordstrom

In part of its effort to rebrand itself as a luxury brand for millennials, Nordstrom hopped on the Reddit bandwagon early. The clothing company was among the first businesses to have a Reddit username and community and used both platforms to interact with customers to the best of its ability. The company also uses Reddit to host AMA’s designed to give customers exclusive looks into the brand’s company culture and workings. The company’s spokesman, Dan Evans, has since looked back on the AMA’s as a great learning opportunity for the company to discover more about what its customers want from the brand.

8. Xbox 360

Like Fathead, Xbox 360 used Reddit to resolve customer concerns.  When Xbox 360 customers have a question or concern about a product they’ve purchased, they can use the company’s Reddit platform to quickly and easily locate the correct sub-Reddit, which ensures that the customer will have their concerns resolved quickly and effectively.  This keeps customers happy and allows them a convenient way to interact with the company without going through troublesome automated call centers.

Three Ways to Use Reddit to Promote Your Business

Like the companies listed above, businesses can use Reddit to promote business and reach new customers. The social media platform calls itself “The Front Page of the Internet” for good reason. When you use Reddit right, the platform has the potential to present a huge ROI.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Target Your Sub-Reddits: Sub-Reddits are an important piece of Reddit’s overall platform and, when used correctly, they can help customers find what they’re looking for and interact with your company more effectively. Additionally, sub-Reddits are a great place for people to gather and talk about niche-related topics, which means they have the potential to introduce your company to new clients. By taking the time to research your analytics enough to get a grasp on your customer’s interests, you can create effective sub-reedits that get at the heart of your clients’ questions and curiosities.
  • Personalize Your Reddit:As we mentioned earlier, Reddit can be overwhelming and “The Front Page of the Internet” is often a bit too much for people to take. To make it seem less intimating to your clients, customize the front page of your Reddit site to reflect your company’s interests. Clicking the “FrontPage” button on the top right corner of a sub-Reddit can easily do this. This allows you to filter your sub-Reddits and create a user-friendly front page that offers a streamlined experience. Additionally, it allows you to identify which posts are popular among your readers, especially if you have a ton of content that is very popular.
  • Make use of Reddit Ads:Reddit ads can help drive more people to your site than traditional advertising. That said, it’s wise to take some of your marketing budget and invest it in Reddit advertising. This can help ensure that you land a front-page spot and that your advertising is as visible as possible for customers. Ads are very customizable and can be targeted to appear on all of Reddit or only on sub-Reddits of your choosing. Plus, since Reddit makes FAQ’s easy on their self-serve advertising FAQ page, it’s easy for even a tech Neanderthal to navigate Reddit’s advertising process.

Although Reddit may seem intimidating, it can be a fantastic platform for businesses to advertise their services and promote their company. Since it has so many monthly users and the platform is free and simple to use, it’s a great way for companies to get out there and get heard.


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Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.

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